Letters To The Editor

January 24, 1993

Balancing Conflicting Pressures in Annapolis

We feel compelled to write regarding your recent assault on the Baltimore County legislative delegation, "They Just Don't Get It" (Jan. 12). Your first point was that the delegation has "vocally opposed budget balancing measures." We have to take exception to that comment. The Republican caucus in particular led the fight for budget balancing measures through reorganization and prioritization of state spending. What we aggressively and vocally opposed was balancing the budget through additional unneeded and unproductive taxes.

Your editorial also commented that we are putting Baltimore County at risk for failing to go along with Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the legislative leadership. However, we were elected by the 100,000 people who live in the 8th legislative district, not the governor and the leadership.

When we have to vote on a particular issue, we try to represent the interests of those people whom we were elected to represent. If our constituents' wishes are to the advantage of the governor and the legislative leadership, as they were in the recent special legislative session, we do it.

However, if our constituents have a view that is opposite of the governor and the legislative leadership, we will again aggressively represent our constituents' interests. If we are penalized politically by the governor and the leadership because of our aggressive independence, that is a problem not of the system but of the individuals that control the system.

Your editorial also criticized the performance of County Executive Roger Hayden and implied that he has not been visible. That is an inaccuracy. Roger Hayden has been in constant contact with these legislators, and there has never been a void in his leadership. If there has been limited visibility, it is because he has not played to the media as some other leaders have.

As far as our re-election chances, our independence will hurt. We know first-hand of political paybacks, and we have accepted that risk. As an example, when the governor appointed his five-member board on redistricting, he selected a former delegate that we defeated in 1990. They then succeeded in their objective to do us political harm.

If we were more interested in re-election, we would have gone to Annapolis and "gone along to get along . . . "

That would have yielded re-election "goodies" as opposed to paybacks. But to pay for these goodies, it would have taken more money from our constituents' pockets in taxes. We feel downsizing government is a better alternative . . .

James F. Ports Jr.

Alfred W. Redmer Jr.

Annapolis

The writers are delegates representing District 8.

Navy Morale

Over 50 years ago, a president of the United States ignored the strong, unanimous advice of his top naval commanders not to keep the fleet at Pearl Harbor. The result was disastrous.

Will newly sworn-in President Clinton, not notable for military experience, likewise ignore the unanimous advice of his top military commanders and knowledgeable civilians like Sen. Sam Nunn and the well-known sentiments of a large majority of our normal, virile young servicemen by trashing the ban on homosexuals in the military?

Or will he succumb to the highly vocal, politically active minority, along with social experimenters who are willing to chance dulling the edge of our great military machine in a troublesome era?

Under a previous, innovatively inclined chief of naval operations some years ago, a policy was initiated whereby a quota of men with much lower intelligence levels, education and background were recruited in the Navy as a sort of training school for the disadvantaged, plus beards, long hair, and a totally new style uniform.

The consequences, though, were frightening, with a series of full-blown mass shipboard mutinies and sabotage.

It was a shocking lesson in how profoundly morale can be affected by unwise tinkering with accepted, tried and true standards of mass human military behavior, and all was soon rescinded.

The argument is presented that all the world's navies (excepting the British) tolerate homosexuals.

I do not recall that any of these navies, except the British, have distinguished themselves in any war within recent memory. They are not particularly striking role models.

Kemp Tolley

Monkton

F: The writer is a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

The Economics of Crime

Professor Steve Hanke uses the tools of economic analysis in his effort to prove (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 13) that if we would only "demand more effective law enforcement and a tougher criminal-justice system," our crime problem in Baltimore and generally in American society would be significantly alleviated.

However, Professor Hanke and the "law and order" conservatives at the University of Chicago seem instead to establish the contrary of what they contend, if we would only carry their simplistic analysis to its logical conclusion.

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